IVF for the post-menopausal
Summary of the case -not just IVF that causes stress
The article is about a lady who had her IVF well after her menopause. She has since split with her boyfriend and finds it difficult to cope with her young child. She suggests that IVF should not be offered to women over 50. I may be biased because of my profession but i can’t see how her example makes it wrong for everyone. I see more as a case of having the right expectations about life after having a baby.
The regret of the mum in this case is not simply because of her age and an artificial knee joint that she has but other personal circumstances, as she herself pointed out. Her boyfriend has left her. Being a single mum is always a difficult job, whatever the age. That she finds child-rearing hard work, is again something that is not unexpected. Younger and fitter mums have found that out. She miscalculated her ability to handle that hard work – physical and mental. She miscalculated the support from her spouse. These calculations can go wrong with any one.
Same event, different experiences
Making sweeping rules about who can and cannot have IVF is a bit harsh and unwise. And if the treatment is self funded, the general public should really not have a reason to opine. Unless ofcourse, it comes in the public domain like in this case. Probably hundreds of women over the age of 50 have had successful IVF treatment, most of them are happy that they had their baby even at that age. They may be a bit more tired than mums who are 30 years younger. But they do have a smile on their face. Tired but content.
A big objection that many have is that the doctors should not have “gone against nature”. But then, this is not the only time when a treatment that defied nature’s ruling, was given. Not every time we come to regret the decision. Overall, modern medical science has got it more right than wrong.
Counselling is the key
When someone goes public with such details of her personal life (family and medical) it is obvious she is not getting the support she needs from around her.
Couples need to think about the impact of IVF, it’s implications on their life and relationships over a period of time. And think of ways to cope, when things get a bit tough.
The IVF regulatory body (HFEA) recommends counselling before a treatment, but we think that is too little and a bit late in the day. Infertility treatment generally and IVF in particular can be a trying experience and it can often make a relationship stronger or harm it. Learning to cope with stress during the IVF and later if it succeeds (or fails) is something the couples have to prepare for. If you are praying to the rain God, you must carry an umbrella.
Our group on facebook is to support everyone including those undergoing infertility investigations and other treatments not just those undergoing IVF.